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Lot 149
Major-General Benjamin Fisher
(British, 1953-1814)
38.1 x 54.6 cm. (15 x 21 1/2 in.)

£ 8,000 - 12,000
US$ 9,500 - 14,000
Withdrawn
Major-General Benjamin Fisher (British, 1953-1814)
The St. Lawrence river from the Upper Town, Quebec
signed and inscribed verso38.1 x 54.6 cm. (15 x 21 1/2 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Lady Conroy (née Elizabeth Fisher), daughter of the artist.
    By descent to Sir John Conroy 3rd Bart., Fellow of Balliol College.
    Balliol College, Oxford.

    The provenance of lots 148-159 is remarkable:

    A damp cellar full of heavy lumber and junk at Balliol College, Oxford was being cleared in early 2003. In an alcove that had not been accessed in living memory was a heap of grossly decayed printed papers and material associated with the Conroy family. Most of this material was far beyond salvage and was discarded, but it included a flat package with stout wrapping of very coarse grey-brown paper crudely sewn together with twine. It bore the legend "Drawings by Gen. Fisher &c." in a nineteenth century hand.

    The package was filthy, but the wrapping was multi-layered and the collection of drawings inside was in remarkable condition. It appeared the package had never been opened, and that it had certainly been in the cellar since 1939 and probably since 1900.

    Major-General Benjamin Fisher was always known as "the General" according to Beckett (1) to distinguish him from his brother George who was known as "the Colonel". The artist's heiress was his only child, his daughter Elizabeth (1790-1864), who in 1808 married John Conroy (1786-1854), later created a Baronet. Their heir was Sir Edward Conroy, 2nd Bart. (1809-1869) and his heir was Sir John Conroy, 3rd Bart. (1845-1900).

    Sir John was a physicist, a bachelor Fellow of Balliol and a major Benefactor of the College. From this source the college has a large accumulation of material connected with the Conroy family. The "Gen. Fisher" package was evidently placed in the cellar with other apparently insignificant items when the third baronet's rooms were cleared soon after his death in 1900.

    Bibliography:
    R.B. Beckett, John Constable and the Fishers, 1952, pg.6.

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